There are numerous types of sex crimes committed online, and the numbers continue to grow. In reply, law enforcement agencies have modified their techniques to investigate alleged suspects who are believed to engage in the illegal online sexual-related activity.
So, online solicitation is a serious crime. It's a crime of moral turpitude. It involves some solicitation, typically either online, on a computer, the phone, a tablet, some device, and you're either talking to an undercover police officer, you're talking to somebody, and somehow they pick up your information.
I've seen prostitutes get arrested. They get the phone of the prostitute, and the next thing you know, they know that you're communicating with the prostitute, and they're going to try to get you for online solicitation.
In California, several statutes fall under the big umbrella of internet sexual-related charges, including the following:
- Penal Code 311 PC – child pornography,
- Penal Code 288. 2 – sending harmful material to a minor,
- Penal Code 288.3 PC – contact minor to commit a felony,
- Penal Code 288.4 PC – arrange a meeting with minor for lewd purposes,
- Penal Code 646.9 PC – cyberstalking,
- Penal Code 647(j)(4) PC – revenge porn,
- Sexting under child porn laws,
- 18 U.S.C. § 2251 – sexual exploitation of children,
- 18 U.S.C. § 2252 – federal child pornography.
Online sex crimes frequently involve surfing the internet for sexual gratification and is not a victimless activity, which is why federal and state laws criminalize certain sexual content online.
The internet is a significant source to the sex-trafficking industry, contributing to the millions of victims worldwide, many of whom are children.
The primary concern for victims is also why federal and state authorities routinely engage in sting operations using all types of social media platforms.
If you're being accused of online solicitation and you're facing criminal appearances in one of the local courts in LA county, you've come to the right place.
Our California sex crime defense lawyers will take a closer look at the laws below.
Online Child Pornography Charges – Penal Code 311.11
Child pornography is by far the poster of an online sex crime. California Penal Code 311.11 PC makes it a crime to possess, send, transport, duplicate or exchange child porn images or videos.
The statute's subsection(a) defines possession to include all usual and unusual forms of online activity:
- “Anyone who knowingly possesses any matter, or image, including film, photograph, slide, videotape, computer hardware, that contains any film which using a minor under 18 engaging in or simulating sexual conduct.”
California's child pornography statute criminalizes even-broader conduct than virtual viewing of the material when it also reaches the material's control.
Someone who does not just view child pornography also commits a crime when they store, distribute, exchange, sell, or transmit it.
Child pornography online is not the only online sex crime that prosecutors may charge.
Most people know that federal and state detectives routinely pose unidentified in person to catch a suspect in a sex crime.
Developing an Effective Defense Strategy
I've been handling these cases now for nearly 30 years, and obviously, I know how to obtain the best result for my clients. The first thing we have to do is determine whether or not we have a defense to the actual case.
That's crucial because we don't want to take an approach where we're trying to mitigate things or work out a deal if you have a complete defense to the online solicitation prosecution.
That involves us sitting down and talking about it. I need you to be honest with me. Give me the straight information. The attorney/client privilege protects everything you say to me
Just putting a spin on it that makes you look good is obviously to do you any good. Come up with what the authorities will claim you were doing and what evidence you think they might have.
Then, I want to hear your take on it, and I'm also going to need to get the other side of it -- what did the police come up with in their investigation -- and then we're really in a position to evaluate things, especially when I sit down with the prosecutor and say, what's going on here?
Why is my client being prosecuted for this? Then I will get their twist or spin on things, what they believe, what evidence they have, and how they intend to proceed with the case.
Experienced Sex Crime Defense Lawyer
So, if you want the best defense if you've got an online solicitation case, you've come to the right place. I've been handling these cases for decades with a lot of success. I've done over 250 jury trials.
I've handled thousands of cases similar to the situation you have. In other words, I've been down this road before.
The prosecutors will need to prove that you were involved with some sex or sex act for money situation.
They're going actually to have to prove it was you. They're not going to be able to convict you if everything was consensual, the person was over 18, and there's no money being exchanged. That's not an online solicitation.
This can take many different forms, so we need to sit down and look at your situation.
We can't just be in a position where we are limiting ourselves, and we are not looking at every aspect of the case because then you're going to be in a situation where you are unable to evaluate the case properly.
We've got to look at your take on things. We've got to look at the government's take on things. We've got to look at the law that applies, and obviously, we're going to utilize my 30 years of experience, and then we can start making decisions on what the plan will be.
Challenging the Elements of the Crime
That's the first step. What is our plan going to be? Sometimes our plan changes depending on the evidence these guys come up with, what the prosecutor says about the case, and what type of investigation we can do on our end.
But, there are things they have to prove. There are certain things they're going to have to show, and the way I evaluate a lot of these cases is if the case went to a jury trial, would they be able to prove the case by way of the jury instructions, which is the law on a charge for online solicitation.
We can look at each element. We can look at what evidence they're going to be able to bring to bear against you. Are they speculating, or do they have good evidence? That's the type of evaluation we're going to need to do.
You've come to the right place if you're charged with online solicitation in LA county or any of the surrounding counties. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County, and we offer a free case evaluation.